Thank you for the advice, I appreciate it – so far being a home owner has been more of a kick in the tool-bag than the blissful euphoria I was led to believe it would be.
I talked it over with The Warden and we’re going to have the unit replaced here in the next week or two. Seeing how well the former occupants of this home took care of things, it’s probably a no brainer to just go ahead and start replacing all the appliances anyway.
I was concerned about the buildup on the sensor too (a kind of brownish / blackish color), and it seemed ridiculous that I would haveto keep pulling the sensor out and scraping it off just to keep the unit running. My friend checked the serial numbers on the unit and thinks it is anywhere from 17 to 22 years old, so it’s time to replace it anyway.
Thank you again for all the help.
Remember the children of Beslan.